Autumn is creeping up and just as the leaves are destined to fall, single people everywhere will inevitably be asked if they're seeing anyone at Thanksgiving .
I don't know what it is about the shift between hot summer nights to chilly mornings that makes people crave companionship but I see the phenomenon everywhere.
I call this affliction seasonal desperation and before I get on my high horse I have to admit that I have suffered from it once or twice.
Now, there is nothing wrong with starting up a loving relationship in September through November but if you're just looking for the next warm body, chances are you're going to get hurt or waste your time in an incompatible relationship.
The old sentiment "You'll find love when you least expect it" is annoying but partially true.
I think you'll naturally find a connection when you happen to stumble upon one, but being open to it doesn't hurt.
On the other hand, if you're searching for love under every rock and in every Tinder match you may end up kissing more duds than winners if you catch my drift.
I've been single and dating in big cities like Toronto and New York for years so before you embark on your journey through cuffing season, take my hard-earned advice.
Don’t feel pressured to bring someone home for the holidays
A Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are basically free-for-all press conferences where family can berate you with questions about your love life.
I mean, I get it. Bringing someone home is nice. You have a built-in teammate to deal with your family's unique weirdness.
You can share-knowing glances across the table every time your uncle says something mildly inappropriate and you have a scapegoat to blame if you need to duck out early.
But bringing home a person you're just starting to see to avoid any dreaded question about your love life isn't worth it, despite what countless Netflix rom-coms may tell you.
Bite the bullet and attend solo or bring a good friend and get the best of both worlds.
Just remember if you bring someone to Thanksgiving and they don't make it to Christmas you'll just have to suffer through even more questions.
Play the long game, my friends.
Don't make dating a part time job
A couple enjoying drinks at the bar.
With great power comes great responsibility and just because you can schedule seven Hinge dates a week doesn't mean you should.
Trust me... I tried it once for work.
Dating in bulk is exhausting and chances are if you're over-exerting yourself to try and find a love connection you're going to get burnt out and cynical fast.
A person can only handle so many bad dates in a limited period of time for so long before they start doubting the very concept of love itself.
Take your time and only go out with someone if you genuinely think there could be a spark.
You don't need to make dating a part-time job to find love because chances are half of those "shifts" you're picking up aren't going to end with a tip.
Don't date to be happy
A group of friends grabbing coffee.
If you're dating because you're lonely or bored, chances are someone isn't actually going to fill that void.
I treat love in the same way I treat alcohol. I don't indulge in it when I'm sad, mad, depressed or lonely.
Finding a partner to fill or fix an emotional need is a short-term band-aid that is never going to last.
It's like patching a hole in your wall with paper and a coat of paint. Sure, it may look passable for 24 hours but it'll never hold.
Dating for validation or happiness might make you feel better temporarily but boy oh boy, will it give you an emotional hangover.
So instead of getting your next dopamine hit from Chad or Emily, fill your life up with things that make you happy.
Sign up for a pottery class, and host a dinner party for your friends.
If you don't have any friends, join a social club and go out and make some.
If you're always chasing happiness in others, chances are you'll never find it in yourself.
Make sure casual sex is actually casual
A messy unmade bed.
Maybe you're not craving emotional intimacy this fall but you still want to get it on.
There is nothing wrong with casual sex as long as you are doing it for the right reasons.
A lot of people talk about how casual sex can be empowering and fun – but it can also be soul-crushing and numbing.
As a certified lover girl who falls in love way too fast, I'm not built for it.
But I know people who can pull it off effortlessly without getting emotionally attached, and while remaining tactful, respectful and considerate of the other person's feelings.
You just need to reflect on where you fall on the spectrum and talk about your expectations with your partner candidly.
If you're having sex with someone and secretly hoping they'll fall for you over time and want something serious, you're setting yourself up to get hurt.
Have casual sex for yourself without any hidden agendas or endgames and communicate your needs and boundaries.
After all, emotional safety is just as important as sexual safety so wrap your heart up before you use it.
Bring them around you friends sooner than later
Friends at a bar.
Puppy love blinds the best of us and if you're really into someone, bring them around your friends.
Let me paint you a picture. You've gone on three to five dates with someone and things are going really well. You like them, they seem to like you and you're blissfully ignoring all their red flags because you really want this one to work out.
Watching someone you're romantically interested in interact with people you love is the best way to pop a love bubble and see if the person is actually as cool as you think.
I remember I was dating this one guy and I invited him to join my friends and I for some drinks and he didn't ask them a single question.
It ate at me the entire night – my friends are some of the most interesting and lovely people in the world. How could anyone not want to know every nitty gritty detail?
I went home alone that night and I realized he rarely asked me questions either. It's safe to say I stopped seeing him.
Sometimes you just need to be a fly on a wall to get another perspective and when you've got seasonal desperation you'll definitely need a bird's eye view.
Stay safe out there this cuffing season and remember you can always buy a sweater to keep you warm.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
This article's right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.